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Keane: Bring on the Faroes

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Robbie Keane. Picture: David Maher/SPORTSFILE

Robbie Keane. Picture: David Maher/SPORTSFILE

Robbie Keane. Picture: David Maher/SPORTSFILE

WITH Georgia dispatched back home without Ireland even breaking sweat, Robbie Keane hopes that yesterday's 4-0 win will be seen as the perfect warm-up game for the one that matters, next Friday's World Cup qualifier at home to the Faroe Islands.

Keane took an unusual bench role for the national team as Shane Long and Simon Cox were handed starts, but came on as a half-time sub for Andy Keogh.

What followed was a barrage of stats – Keane made his 125th international appearance, equalling the caps record held by Shay Given, and looks set to establish a new record at home to the Faroes on Friday, while he also scored twice to take his goals tally with Ireland to 56.

But for Keane, it's now all about Friday and the Faroes.

He said: "It was good, it was good to get the 45 minutes to keep the fitness up, that was the main objective. It was good to get the game in. It would have been hard to go from the England game to the Faroes match without a game inbetween, you need that for your sharpness," said Keane.

"Scoring four goals at home is great ahead of Friday, it breeds confidence into the team.

"This week has gone according to plan, everyone has had a run-out.

"People say you should play the first XI in every game but these players have been here for two weeks and for none of them to play is harsh, they need to play if they are going to progress and be the future of Irish football.

"We need to change it about and these are perfect games for the players to get some minutes," added Keane.

The Irish striker – not captain on the night as Shane Long retained the armband even when Keane came on – said the game changed when Georgia were reduced to 10 men after only 22 minutes.

"In respect to the Faroes game, with them getting a man sent off, it probably did help us because what they did in stepping back is exactly what the Faroes will do.

"So we had to move quickly and work the gaps, which we did, and create chances and score goals.

"If we can repeat that on Friday it will be great. It will be exactly like that on Friday.

 

Helped

"In a strange way it helped us because that is exactly how the Faroes will play.

"Obviously the rules are the rules and their keeper has to go, but in a friendly game it might have been a workout for us if it had been 11 v 11.

"But sometimes it's hard against 10 men because they put everyone behind the ball and they certainly did that, so it's about us getting the ball and moving it quickly, trying to create space, and we did that. It was a good confidence-booster," added Keane.

Last night was a case of new faces and fresh starts – Stephen Quinn making his debut and Wes Hoolahan and Richard Keogh starting for the first time.

Keane came away impressed with Hoolahan.

"He's good," he said. "We know what Wes can do. He likes to get the ball and play little balls around the corner which suits me perfect because I'm always in the hole waiting.

"We linked up very, very well. Stephen Quinn came on and he's the same. He certainly has a great case for Friday."

Keane will regain the captain's armband for the Faroes game, but refused to take it back from Long last night.

"It's his night, he was captain for the night. He was trying to give me it at half-time but there was no way I was going to take it off him," said Keane, also delighted to see his old buddy Richard Dunne back for the first time in a year.

"It was great to see him back, and full credit to the fans, they gave him a great reception and rightly so, it's been a tough year for him."


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